Many of us spent the early years of our childhood imagining ourselves as an astronaut, climbing aboard a spaceship destined for a faraway planet. For one Louisiana teenager, this dream I set to become a reality in 2033.
Alyssa Carson’s fascination with Mars and the concept of space travel started as young as the age of 3, watching the children’s show ‘The Backyardigans’ in which the show’s characters go on a mission to Mars. Her father was incredibly supportive, she told Teen Vogue, taking her to her first year at space camp at the age of 7. She loved her time at camp so much that she returned a total of 18 times!
Determined to turn her dreams of space travel into a reality, the teenager has dedicated her life to doing whatever it takes. She currently attends the Baton Rouge International School, studying subjects in a total of 4 different languages, while also taking courses at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Space Physiology. Throughout all this, she is taking part in training to prepare her for a mission to Mars scheduled in 2033.
While Carson’s training has already begun, she isn’t officially working for NASA. The organization doesn’t accept applications until they turn 18, however, they certainly see her future as a candidate when she does come of age. For this reason, they are working to prepare her for the Mars mission, which will occur when she is approximately 32 years old. NASA isn’t the organization with their eyes on this talented young woman. A number of other groups with a focus on space travel including SpaceX and MarsOne are also considering working with her, potentially allowing her the opportunity to make her first journey at an even younger age.
An inspiration to young women around the globe, Carson refuses to allow anything to hold her back from achieving her goals and dreams. She has now visited all 14 of NASA’s visitor centers across 9 states, making her the first and only person to have ever completed the NASA Passport program. She was honored for this accomplishment on November 18th, 2013.
“I wanted to be the first person to hand in a completed passport,” Alyssa told Astronaut.com. “I had asked Bill Parsons (a former Director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center) what advice he had to help me become an astronaut. One of the things he recommended I do, in addition to getting my scuba diving, skydiving, pilot’s license, …things like that… was to try to have accomplishments that would stand out on my resume, beyond all of the degrees and qualifications that are needed to become an astronaut. So when I saw that NASA had this program, I thought it would be fun to do and could be one of the unique things that helps me stand out when it comes time to be picked as an astronaut.”
In a world where we try to teach our youth that they can accomplish anything and everything if they put their mind to it, Carson is a perfect example. She continues to share her journey throughout the media, her personal website and on her Facebook page to over 55,000 followers every step of the way.